Bangkok continues building rail lines

While all but essential businesses in Thailand were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some infrastructure development rolled on, and operators of Bangkok’s commuter rail lines said last week that a northern extension and a new suburban route would be completed and open on time.

The continuation of construction projects to benefit the public represented a determination to keep the country developing despite the difficulties of the moment. Although economic losses have been high, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration was determined not to lose time in making improvements for the people of the capital city.

The Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company, which operates the elevated Skytrain system, announced it would open the northern extension of its Green Line on June 3. The additional four stops would take passengers into the Bang Khen district, just a stone’s throw from Don Muang International Airport. When the entire line is completed, it will stretch 33 miles and link the southern suburb of Samut Prakan with the northern province of Pathum Thani.

“The system will extend the mass transit to the outer areas of Bangkok, and we plan to expand our feeder system to include nearby provinces. It will alleviate traffic congestion,” Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang wrote on his Facebook page.

The Skytrain was the first commuter rail line in Bangkok, and it opened in 1999. Not long after, the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) opened the city’s first subway line.

The MRTA said last week that construction of its Pink Line is proceeding on schedule, is more than halfway done, and will open on time in October 2021. That line will link the northern suburb of Minburi with the Thailand Cultural Center in the central city.

“We have adjusted our working hours by increasing daytime work to comply with the government’s night curfew in this Covid-19 situation. We expect to follow the original schedule with no problem,” said Surachet Laophulsuk, an MRTA executive.

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